“In ten sessions you will feel the difference. In twenty sessions you will see the difference. And in thirty, you’ll have a whole new body.” This is the promise of Joseph Pilates. And as every new client passes the 10, 20 and 30-session mark I ask them about their experience. Do they feel different after 10 sessions? Can they see a difference after 20 sessions? Do they feel like they have a “whole new body” after 30 sessions? And the answer is always yes.
But this is not a blog about “Pilates.” Sadly, Pilates has become nothing more than a marketing term to describe “core strength.” And this is not a blog about honoring the legacy of the man – Joseph Pilates – who left us with this incredible body of work and various apparatus (although I should write one). This blog is about the power of Happy Exercise®. And while any form of physical activity – in the correct context – can be considered Happy Exercise®, the first time I personally experienced it was with Pilates.
Pilates has made its way to the echelon of pop culture. So even if someone is unfamiliar with the specifics of the discipline, the average person knows that Pilates is a type of exercise. And most people know something about exercise and personal training. And thanks to the marketing efforts of the fitness industry, most people think of exercise as a “way to burn calories and lose weight” or “get into shape” and that the personal trainers are the coaches who “hold them accountable.”
And none of this is necessarily a “bad” thing. It’s just that this perspective misdirects our focus and puts limitations on the potential benefits of exercise. In this traditional way of thinking, the “benefit” comes from that hour sweating with a personal trainer. And, yes, some would argue that there are also caloric and metabolic benefits that continue on after the workout. But the point is this: the general perception of exercise is that its benefits come as a direct result of the workout.
So it is natural for new Pilates clients to ask questions about how often they should come into the studio for a workout and how long it might take them to see results. And this is where we have a potentially life-changing conversation.
The power of Pilates (and of Happy Exercise®) is not in the one hour a week (or three) that the person comes into the studio. Even if the client were to come in for a workout every single day, the 7 hours a week they spend with me could not override the other 161 hours in the week spent in the unconscious habitual movement patterns and lifestyle that brought them to the studio in the first place. The power of Pilates (and Happy Exercise®) is that it teaches us how to become embodied. It teaches us how to take this new way of moving our body and this new way of inhabiting our body into the rest of our life.
For example, it doesn’t do you much good to spend time “working on your core” if you don’t then use your core when engaging in the rest of your life activities. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend strengthening your arms, your back or your upper abs if you continue to use your neck and shoulders to do everything from grabbing a coffee cup out of the cupboard to driving to doing laundry.
The power (and point) of exercise from a Happy Exercise® perspective is that the time spent in physical activity teaches you how to feel your body and how to be in your body. It teaches you how to use your body. And when you take these lessons – learned and practiced in your daily exercise time – out into the rest of your life, you become embodied. When you are embodied, the new movement patterns you learn create sustainable change in your strength and flexibility. And when you are embodied, you instinctively know when and what to eat – and how much. When you become embodied, you can create sustainable weight loss and wellbeing because all of your choices and actions come from a place of harmony and congruency that is authentic to your highest self.
So I can’t promise how many Happy Exercise® sessions it may take. For me, it is a life-long adventure. As my body gets stronger and more flexible, I can find deeper muscles than I could before. When I get injured, I find new ways of moving through the range of motion. But understanding that my results are not coming from the workout per se, but from the connection to my body that the workout provides me has been priceless. Happy Exercise® has given me not only a new body – but a new freedom, a new happiness and a new life.
“No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it.” There is no other quote that so succinctly and profoundly describes how the paradigm shift offered by the Happy Calories Don’t Count® methodology truly and completely solves weight and body image problems. So I did a little research. After all, if… Continue Reading
“It’s not about the food! It’s about all that unresolved emotional stuff.” This is pop-psychology 101 for anyone who’s ever read about or dealt with emotional eating or an eating disorder. In fact, this perspective is so cliché that it even prompted the creation of Happy Calories. (A Pilates client was – once again –… Continue Reading
I don’t believe in magic. I know from first hand experience that there is always a gaff, a sleight of hand or some other trick. Magic is great for entertainment – but the metaphysical “magic” floating around the self-help and personal growth industries will do absolutely nothing to help you create the freedom, peace, happiness… Continue Reading
Compliments are interesting things. There are the generic “you look nice today” or “great job!” compliments that feel good in the moment, but are quickly forgotten. And yet these same positive affirmations can also elicit a negative reaction when the compliment does not align with the current state of being of the recipient. There are… Continue Reading
Faith versus fantasy. I’ve been pondering this idea for quite some time. What exactly is faith? And how is it different than fantasy? These questions fascinate me – and they are particularly relevant both in my work as an actress and in my work as a body image/weight loss coach. “Having faith” is a common… Continue Reading
Your body and I have a lot in common. I want you to want me. Call me naïve, but I want you to read the blog posts I publish and the newsletters I send out because they are from me – not because they have some snappy “hot headline.” Although I have to admit, I… Continue Reading
“Great! How are you??” That’s the socially acceptable answer when someone asks how you are. But when my good friends ask, I can share what’s really going on. “It’s January.” The winter bug-a-boos are a seasonal reality, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cope with them by bingeing. It’s easier to forget that… Continue Reading
I’m going out on a limb here and embracing my snarkiness. I really do try to be a nice, kind, loving person – but every now and again a girl needs to let loose with the attitude. And it seems to suit me. Some of my best material comes from it. Case in point: many… Continue Reading
Festivities, Families and Food – it’s the Holiday Trifecta. If you’re looking to maintain that waistline (or perhaps even shed a few pounds), the best time to start is right now. Of course, the present moment is really the only time you can start anything. But I’m talking about starting now – during the holidays.… Continue Reading